The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange listed company, Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, has released its Reviewed Abridged Consolidated Financial results for the half year ended 31 August 2018 (1 March 2018-31 August 2018). Below are some notable highlights from the financial results.
The 2018 First Half Year Revenue of Econet Wireless Zimbabwe was $600.3 million. This was a 70% increase from the first half year of 2017 when they had a revenue of $352.7 million. To easily understand the below, note that Econet Wireless Zimbabwe business can be divided into two parts/companies. 1. Cassava SmarTech Zimbabwe Limited (Steward Bank, Ecocash etc) 2. Mobile Network Operations (The telecommunications side of the business ie voice calling, internet data provision etc)
The sharp revenue increase was driven by Cassava SmarTech Zimbabwe Limited. Ecocash and Steward Bank are the major part of Cassava SmarTech Zimbabwe Limited. Cassava SmarTech revenue was $235.1 million, which is a 152% increase from the first half year of 2017 where its revenue was $93.3 million. Cassava SmarTech revenue growth was driven by the growth in its financial technology segment, and now constitutes 39% of total Econet revenues. EcoCash and Steward Bank led the growth as digital banking and mobile transactions became the standard means for doing business in Zimbabwe, due to the unavailability of cash. Everyone is now using plastic money, and Econet has greatly benefited from this as they had positioned themselves for such a time as this, when they started Ecocash (the largest mobile money company in Zimbabwe) and acquired Steward Bank.
On the other hand, the Mobile Network Operations(MNO)/Telecommunication side of the business reported $352.5 million revenue, which is a 40% increase from first half year 2017 where the revenue was $252.5 million. The MNO contribution to total revenues was 59%. The revenue mix consisted of voice and data services, which contributed 62% and 28% to MNO revenues respectively. Data revenues continue to grow as the business continues to transform into becoming more data-centric. The number of Econet mobile subscribers slightly increased from 11.40 million to 11.44 million.
Econet Wireless Zimbabwe reported a profit after tax of $123.6 million, which is a 153% increase from the first half year of 2017 (profit was $48.9 million). The earnings per share were 5.2 cents, a 148% increase from half year 2017 (2.1 cents).
The Company declared a dividend of 1.158 US cents per share amounting to $30 million for the second quarter ending 31 August 2018. This is after they had declared a dividend of 0,772 US cents per share for the first quarter ended 31 May 2018, amounting to $20 million. Thus this brings total dividends declared to shareholders to $50 million for the half year ended 31 August 2018. In comparison, for the full year ended 28 February 2018, Econet Wireless Zimbabwe paid a total of $60 million dividend to investors. So Econet Wireless Zimbabwe is ontrack to beat the previous year dividends.
Change in business models starting to bear fruit
Econet Wireless Zimbabwe was once a telecommunications-only-company/Mobile Network Operator (MNO). However its business model was affected by Over the top services such as Whatsapp, as people abandoned text messages, and voice calls declined as we were now using the cheaper Whatsapp Calls. Econet then changed its business model in anticipation of the fall in the telecommunications side of the business. Econet evolved into a full fledged Technology, Media, and Telecom company. It introduced Ecocash in 2011, which was a game changer in the payments sector in Zimbabwe. It then joined the banking industry by buying Steward Bank, and the insurance industry via Ecosure. Thus, Econet Wireless Zimbabwe is nolonger a telecommunications-only company. It has managed to successfully diversify from depending on telecommunication revenue.
Confused by the Above Terminology?
How does this concern me as an ordinary Zimbabwean? How can I benefit from Econet Zimbabwe Profits? How do I buy Econet Zimbabwe shares? For answers to the above, read our article: How to Invest on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.
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